Hello, Astros / Goodbye, Rusty

Second Year in a Row
George Springer Homers to Start Season
March 29, 2018

Uh Oh! The 2018 Astros AL Baseball Season is off to a slow start.

Last year, lead-off hitter George Springer got the Astros 2017 World Series Championship AL Baseball Season off to a flying start by homering on the first pitch of the season. This year, it took him three pitches to accomplish the same feat against Cole Hammels of the Texas Rangers.

We jest. That’s OK. This 2018 team is better than last year’s great club if they can play their remaining 161 regular season games on the field as well as they appear prepared to do it on paper. Get that done with people like George Springer and Carlos Correa supporting the game’s greatest player, Jose Altuve, on the field, and with heavenly humming pitchers like Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel tilling the mound – and our Houston chances for a repeated World Series victory in 2018 correctly go from possible, to probable, to almost certain – barring the appearance of nasty fate.

Here at The Pecan Park Eagle, we’ve got the Astros down for a 108-54 record in 2018 and a whatever-it-takes AL roll over the Yankees and other base league playoff pretenders on their way to dumping the Dodgers or whomever else survives as NL contender in the World Series.

That being said, we must add: We’ve been to the rodeo of paper expectations before and had to learn that nobody gets anything until they actually win it on the field, one day at a time, in the face of little and long present issues of injury and reliable availability.

So much too depends on the man in charge. We had this trust twice before – first with Bill Virdon and again with Larry Dierker. And now we have it again with A.J. Hinch.

It’s there, man. If you pay attention at all to the dugout interaction during games between Hinch, his staff, and his players – you can see it and sense it in every other way that’s available to you. These guys are confident. In themselves. And in each other. And in their leaders, they will do all they can to do all that is possible. No trust is lost. And no energy is wasted on distrust.

That 4-1 Astros win over the Rangers on Opening Day 2018 was a nice start, but now it’s a new day. Time for a new day run at being the best team on the field this Good Friday.

And, one more time. Rest in Peace, Rusty Staub!

Rest in Peace
Rusty Staub
Died March 29, 2018
Age 73

It was 1963 when the 19-year old Rusty Staub joined the Houston Colt .45s after one season with the Durham Bulls of the Carolina League in 1962. I was familiar with Staub’s early skill from the time he was finishing play at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, but never got to see him actually play until his rookie MLB year. I started my masters level graduate school work at Tulane in September 1961, after Rusty already had finished his amateur play and signed at age 17 to play for our new NL expansion club.

Everyone I knew at the time was very excited about Rusty Staub as a candidate for stardom when he arrived in Houston, and, like most of those others, I shared in the disappointment when GM Spec Richardson traded him away in that media / commissioner bungled trade to Montreal.

All Staub did after leaving Houston was play about another thousand years while becoming along the way, one of the best pinch hitters and biggest charitable benefactors that the game has ever known.

Thank you, Rusty Staub, for being such an important, if wrongly assessed part of our early Houston MLB history.

We appreciate you because – there will never be another you.


Plus Previous TPPE Column Link:



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle




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One Response to “Hello, Astros / Goodbye, Rusty”

  1. Bruce Biundo Says:

    Very nicely done, Bill.  My memories of Rusty Staub were apparently more from the fact that I was there every summer thru 1961, and had the time frame just a little off. He was a big prep star.  I was not in Houston when he made his debut here, but clearly remember the start of ’65, and I was there at the first regular season game at the Astrodome.  Bruce  

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